Thursday, March 23, 2017
After what seemed like a brief hiatus from shelves, Shark is back! And it is time for an update and a review of both the regular, and the sugar-free versions. Both of these were sent to me by the company to see what has changed.
The regular version goes by Shark Stimulation Original flavor, while the sugar free one simply goes by Shark Sugar Free. Both of these come in a 250 mL can that looks like all other 250 mL cans, but upon closer inspection you will notice that the bottom has a straight taper giving it a sleek look.
Shark Stimulation Original
Pour this into a glass before trying it. I was expecting to see Red Bull's orangy color, but what I got was a light yellow color that is almost perfectly clear. On the other hand, the aroma is very similar to that of Red Bull but with a touch more citrus acidity.
But, like with the Shark I had 6 years ago, most of the Red Bull similarities stop at the aroma. Shark has a mellower mouthfeel with round candy-like sweetness to every note. You get a mix of berries and citrus that start off light, but build up quickly and leave a very pleasant aftertaste that is not too sweet.
To me, this tastes like a slightly better version of Red Bull without its acidic bite and softer carbonation. I liked Shark 6 years ago and I like this version just as much.
The Sugar Free version has a more neon yellow color and has an aroma that is slightly closer to that of Red Bull. The mouthfeel is a little thinner than the original version and seems a little less round with a little more of a bite. The candy-like sweetness is present for a brief moment but it feels distant due to the lack of sugar. The berries and citrus are most noticeable near the finish and in the aftertaste, which has an interesting creaminess to it.
Overall, I kinda like this Sugar Free version. There are very few traces of the lack of sugar and the moderate bite and creaminess it has, distinguish it from other similar drinks.
There are 80 mg of caffeine in both these cans. One thing to note is the reduced amount of taurine. The Original flavor has 120 mg per can while the sugar free version only 7.5 mg.
The energy effects are the same as any other 250 mL can. The difference between the Original and the Sugar Free versions are the jitters the sugary one gave me for a few minutes. If you are looking for something without the jitters, go for the Sugar Free version which has a more controlled kick.
Cost - samples provided, but available through 7-11 and online
Taste - 8.8/10 (Original), 9/10 (Sugar Free)
Energy - 6/10
Overall - 14.8/20 to 15/20...richer and rounder flavor than Red Bull with the same kick
Sunday, March 5, 2017
This Blackcurrant flavor comes from a batch of new Lucozades that recently appeared on the shelves of the local Asian grocery store. The bottles were $2.59.
Whoa. I love blackcurrants and the aroma this one has is absolutely stunning. It reminds me a little of the Japanese Red Bull Blue Edition I had earlier this year.
The flavor is less intense than the aroma due to the carbonation at the start which prevents you from getting sense of the true flavor until nearly the end. When the flavor kicks in you get a combination of blackcurrants and concord grapes with a tiny acidic hit. I wish this was more intense.
Unfortunately, the label is entirely in a different language that I cannot understand. The effects that I experienced are comparable to drinking ~80% of a can of Red Bull. From a tired and groggy state, I started to feel energized and a little jittery within 15 minutes. In another 20, I was feeling cheery and ready to run. The effects lasted for a couple of hours.
Cost - $2.59
Taste - 7.8/10
Energy - 5.5/10
Overall - 13.3/20...excellent aroma, but the flavor needs more kick
Friday, February 17, 2017
When I first saw this Monster, I thought it was just a re-branded Monster for a special occasion, but upon a close inspection, I realized I was wrong. Gronk is Rob Gronkowski's nickname. And Gronk is a football player. And this Monster? This Monster's flavor has been re-engineered in partnership with the Gronk.
This "re-engineered" Monster looks like a regular Monster with a hint of Red Bull with its yellowish/orange color. It also smells like a regular Monster and tastes like a mix between the regular Monster and Red Bull, only a touch creamier than both.
I am a bit disappointed as I was expecting something completely new and unique, but I am, not hating this flavor.
In terms of caffeine nothing has been changed. There are 160 mg of caffeine in Monster Gronk and the effects are the same as any other regular Monster or Red Bull packing the same amount of caffeine.
Monster, you did a great job tricking me into buying this.
Cost - $3.69
Taste - 8/10
Energy - 9.2/10
Overall - 16.2/20...I like Red Bull and this is nothing unique
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
This Killer Grape energy drink is the second flavor of the new (to Canada) line of Rockstar Revolt energy drinks. I tried and reviewed Killer Citrus not too long ago. Both flavors can be found in most stores that carry Rockstar products and retail for $3.69.
Before I get started on the taste, I should note that the color of Killer Grape is almost identical to the darker purple patches on the can label. Kinda unexpected.
Anyways, Killer Grape has a very sweet grape/blueberry aroma that reminds me of a generic soft drink. The taste is not that much different either. The grape flavor is okay, but very generic, very basic, and not unique. The only distinguishing trait this drink has is the finish, where the flavor turns creamy and a light blueberry note mixed with a hint of tart grape skins emerges.
Overall, Killer Grape tastes like a generic, but okay grape soft drink. Maybe it will appeal to those who like softer energy drinks and enjoy soft drinks.
Unlike the the US version, which contains 240 mg of caffeine, this Canadian version is limited to 160 mg of caffeine, which is still plenty to get you going. Sure, you get a sugary buzz and the jitters, but once they subside, the rush the 160 mg of caffeine provide are good enough to power you through the next 3 or so hours...and you might experience a mild crash...but whatever.
Cost - $3.69
Taste - 7/10
Energy - 8.3/10
Overall - 15.3/20...tastes like a generic soft drink...unexpected
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
The Rockstar Revolt is the latest set of energy drinks to grace the shelves of our Canadian convenience stores...about a year after their release in the US. And each of the flavors are titled "Killer [something]". Today my mouth felt a little dry so I thought that the Killer Citrus would be a better start of my day than Killer Grape.
Killer Citrus has a cloudy white color and smells like a mixture of 7Up, Sprite and a lime spritzer. The mouthfeel is creamy and soft at the start and the carbonation doesn't hit you until a few moments into each sip.
Past the initial "softness", the flavor is very sweet all throughout with traces of lemon and lime peels that don't impart any acidity. Overall, this tastes like a slightly sweeter mix of 7Up and Sprite.
According to other reviews of this energy drink, the US version contains 50% more caffeine than the regular Rockstar. However, the Canadian version contains the standard 160 mg of caffeine. But, that's still enough to give you a fantastic energy kick for 2-3 hours, along with a jittery, sugar rush for 15-20 minutes early on. Also, don't forget the mild crash you might experience at the end. It might even be a harder one if you had this late at night and your body has no energy to give.
Cost - $3.69
Taste - 7.7/10
Energy - 8.3/10
Overall - 16/20...interesting soft drink flavor
Saturday, January 21, 2017
Over the Christmas holidays, I had a chance to try Energy Bombs gum. It was an early evening, I was feeling a bit tired, but didn’t want to get a coffee out of fear for not being able to sleep later. But then I remembered that I had a pack of Energy Bombs. The package told me that each piece contains 40 mg of caffeine and I thought that would be great for a quick boost...and to try a new product.
I was sent the cinnamon flavor, and though I am not the biggest cinnamon fan, I didn’t mind it. The cinnamon is well done and its peppery intensity is kept to a minimum at the very start. After a couple of minutes, the tingling/burning sensation recedes and you are left with a mellow cinnamon flavor.
But, once the intensity goes away, you do get a hint of the energy ingredients. They don’t impart overly bitter flavor, but there is just enough bitterness to remind you that you are chewing no ordinary gum. And only for a short period of time. By the time I had left my place and was at the streetcar stop, there were no traces of the energy ingredients.
Another thing I should point out is the longevity of the gum. I was out for about 3 hours and the gum was still chewy and elastic at the end. Many caffeinated gums turn into mush after an hour or so due to their ingredients, but not this one.
The label advertises that 2 pieces of gum equal an energy drink. And it is not lying. The 1 piece I had gave me an amazing boost without robbing me of my sleep later on. It also didn’t give me the jitters. Two pieces gave me a nice and excited feeling and a jittery feeling for a short time. Four pieces should equal a Monster, but chewing so much gum might be a problem...and I don’t want to find out.
Cost - $2.99 for the pack
Taste - 8.5/10
Energy - 5/10 to 10/10...depending on the numbers of pieces you chew
Overall - 13.5/20 to 18.5/20
Friday, January 6, 2017
Following the same release schedule as a few years back (5-6 years), Marley Beverage Co released some coffee drinks as well under the One Drop label. I got this fine can of One Drop Vanilla Swirl Chocolate from a 7-11 near me for $2.99.
Pour this into a classy clear glass, because it looks classy as f***. The color is light brown and if you shake it a little before opening it, a very nice crema will form on top, which makes this beverage look like something you got from a coffee shop.
This One Drop smells like a sweet iced coffee with notes of vanilla and chocolate...which I guess is exactly as described on the label - vanilla swirl chocolate. It tastes incredibly sweet at first with a crushing wave of sugar, vanilla and milk chocolate. If you were to focus for a moment, you will feel like you are actually eating soft serve vanilla/chocolate ice cream. The coffee flavor comes in right after and introduces mildly bitter notes but they help control the sweetness for a moment, because the finish comes with another wave of sugar and more of the ice cream flavors. The aftertaste is surprisingly delicious with mild vanilla, milk chocolate and coffee notes. Some milk funkness appears for a moment, but it is well under control compared to other milk-based iced coffees.
There is no clear indication of how much caffeine is in the can and I was not successful finding an answer through the internets, but maybe if you spend more than 10 seconds searching and find the answer, please leave a comment below. I will speculate that the can contains around 100 - 120 mg of caffeine based on the effects.
Compared to other sugary iced coffees, the effects are a bit slower to come, but when they come, expect a 10-15 minute period of focus and a very brief jittery period. Very weird. For me, the caffeine kick was surprisingly clean. I felt more calm, yet and awake for the 2 hours than overcaffeinated and excited as I would have felt with a comparable energy drink. The end was without any drama.
When I first bought this drink, I felt like I would get diabetes and my nerves will be shaken, but I actually really enjoyed the taste and the performance. I would not make this my go-to drink given its sweetness level, but it is definitely one to try.
Cost - $2.99
Taste - 9/10
Energy - 7/10
Overall - 16/20...sweet, but rich with a calm kick